Second-year Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason insists that he’s a different coach now than he was at last summer’s SEC Media Days.
That’s a good thing, because Mason’s Commodores went winless in SEC play last season and finished 3-9 overall.
“I’m a year older, a year wiser and I’ve grown up a little bit,” Mason said during his opening remarks Monday at the 2015 SEC Media Days.
Mason, who installed himself as defensive coordinator for the upcoming season, took ownership of Vanderbilt’s struggles last season.
“We weren’t a very competitive football team in 2014, and that’s on me,” he said. “I take full responsibility for that.”
Mason said being a tough, hard-nosed squad that grinds for 60 minutes over four quarters will become the Commodores’ new calling card. He wants to distill it in Vanderbilt’s DNA.
“I made some assumptions a year ago about this football team,” Mason said. “I assumed that, just because we were in the SEC, that we would play like an SEC team, and we didn’t.”
Nothing will erase last season’s setback, but it doesn’t have to be where the program remains on Mason’s watch.
“I know it’s disappointing, the season we had a year ago, but that’s a comma,” he said. “It’s a comma, OK, and not a period.”